In this Baylor Scott & White Greater Dallas Orthopaedics blog, we discuss a benign tumor made up of blood vessels.

Hemangioma is a common vascular birthmark composed of extra blood vessels in the skin. These lesions most commonly appear on the face, scalp, chest, or back. Although the exact cause is unknown, Hemangiomas tend to develop from circumstances we’ll cover in this blog.

Most Hemangiomas disappear naturally over the course of an individual's life without any additional treatment, although this is not always the case. Surgical treatment may be recommended if the lesion is causing pain or destroying the healthy tissues surrounding it.

What is Hemangioma?

Hemangioma is a bright red birthmark that looks like a rubbery bump and is made up of extra blood vessels in the skin. It most commonly appears in the first or second week of life and has three main types:


Who is most affected by Hemangioma?

Hemangioma is mostly found in premature infants. Typically, these lesions appear within the first weeks or months of life. Girls are affected slightly more often than boys.


What are the causes of Hemangioma?

Unfortunately, there is no singular proven cause for the development of Hemangioma. Hemangiomas can develop from various circumstances, including abnormalities in the vascular system, post-injury, genetic abnormalities, and/or pregnancy.

Hemangioma is not caused by any particular occupation or exposure to chemicals or radiation. During pregnancy, no known food, medication, or activity is connected to an infant.


What are the Symptoms?

The most common symptoms of Hemangioma include painless red to blue colored lesions on the skin, lips, or inside the mouth. Depending on the tumor’s location, Hemangioma may cause pain and swelling, which increases with activity. In addition, patients may experience symptoms of headache, nausea and vomiting, gait disturbances, and poor coordination of the limbs. 


How is Hemangioma Diagnosed?

Although a diagnosis of Hemangioma can be observed through medical history and physical examination alone, imaging tests are recommended.

Diagnostic Imaging tests for Hemangioma include:

Other types of aggressive vascular malformations and soft-tissue tumors share similar symptoms, so it is important for your doctor to differentiate those cases from Hemangioma.


How is Hemangioma treated?

Most Hemangiomas go away over time without any treatment, although it is important to visit your doctor regularly to monitor any changes in the tumor.

Treatment may depend on the size, location, and behavior of the site of the tumor. Nonsurgical treatment includes beta blocker medication, anti-inflammatory medication, compression, embolization, or laser treatment. Surgical treatment may be recommended if the lesion is causing pain or destroying the healthy tissues surrounding it.

While Hemangioma may not require any medical intervention, it is still recommended that you or your loved one consult a physician to monitor its status and growth. Your team at Baylor Scott & White Greater Dallas Orthopaedics is here to provide insight, support, and innovative treatment strategies to equip you or your loved one to return to function promptly. Reach out to us today to learn more.